John Atwater loves to go manatee watching right down the block. He lives in Vero Beach, Florida, on an island smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. But John’s worried about the wildlife and his community. Over the past few years, climate change has been shaking up lagoons. Rising temperatures have fueled an outbreak of algal blooms, causing large-scale fish die offs. With a handful of oysters, a boat, and a lab, John spent his summer trying to figure out how to protect the lagoon. And now he wants to know, how can his research actually help people?
To find out, John sat down with Dr. Duane De Freese, the Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, to discuss how to create change for communities that are wrestling with very different water issues on the lagoon.
Music: Discovery Harbor, Sunday Lights, and Waterbourne by Blue Dot Sessions, No Squirrell by Podington Bear. Our theme song is by Ladybug Music.
Episode art by: Lily Arzt
John’s passion for bringing together scientists, policymakers, and community members to collectively address environmental challenges in his coastal hometown is clear. If you’re interested in following suit, head on over to eePRO to check out the Environmental Issues Forums, which provide tools, training, and support for engaging people in productive discussions about sticky issues affecting the environment and communities. NAAEE’s series of “crosswalks” for environmental literacy are also useful for teachers and curriculum developers interested in designing lessons linked to the core concepts and principles needed for ocean, climate, atmosphere science, and earth science literacy.